We are about to embark on a new teaching series through the book of Judges. Judges continues the story of God and Israel in the Old Testament. It is the chapter of what it looked like right after Joshua, who, with Moses’s ministry marinated into his person and work, conquered most of the land in God’s name because of God’s plan. Joshua is a story of absorbing life in the land…kind of. It is more. It is a story of Israel’s greatest need. The author tells us, quite clearly, by repeating a phrase. This phrase is a road sign. It interprets the events of the story. The phrase is: In those days there was no king in Israel. In the last line of the book the phrase is followed by: Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. That last phrase was illustrated time and time again in the story.
Israel needs a king. In Deuteronomy 17 God gives Israel permission to have one, under certain conditions. As you pull back and look at Judges in the greater context of the whole Old Testament, you can see that it is bridges us toward kingship. And, when you think about the uber-king of the OT, you think of David. That might even draw you to the little book that is wedged between Judges and 1 Samuel, namely, Ruth. Ruth is a story the text tells us occurred during the time of the Judges. It seems like a disconnected story about loss, love, and redemption. But look closer. It is a story about God working in the wreckage of the story of Judges, in the shadows, to be faithful to His own promises to provide a king. The story of Ruth ends with a genealogy that moves us to David. Ah, so David must be the background figure to Judges, right? Hmmm….kind of.
Judges is full of pain, strife, bloodshed, sexual sin, and generally a lot of horrible things. Left at the at level you might wonder why I want to teach through it? Why does it have to be in our Bible? Well, for starters it shows us what life continues to look like in a post Genesis 3 world. But also, all of that junk, which actually happened, is revealing a deep need. A need for redemption and restoration. There is a need for a king. Not just in ancient Israel. The Bible is teaching us that humanity needs a king. That story is our story. Is David that king? No, not ultimately. Bathsheba and that whole mess reminds us that David is but a man, and a pretty broken and sinful one at that. No, there would be another. This king would be perfect. This king would not only be a might ruler, but would be the savior. And, he would bring salvation, not by conquest done with metal swords. His conquest would be that of sin, death, and satan, and rather than the sword, his foe would be conquered by his death on the cross for his enemies….namely, you and me.
Judges is ultimately about Jesus. We are titling the series “Where is our King?” The answer will be what the book of Judges whispers, and sometimes shouts, to us: Here is our King! The God-man who died upon the cross!
Pray for me as we start this week. I will begin by making the case that you and I need a king. Not a president. Not any elected official. A King, by virtue of rank, birth, identity, glory, power, and worth. We are at our best when we repent of meritocracy and embrace the need for an absolute rule, with absolute power, for us to give absolute allegiance to. We need a king!
Yet, this king is our sweet savior who died for us, who wields absolute power with absolute love and truth. Pray that you feel your need for him all the more as we go through this book and that you go to him and be satisfied!
One response to “Judges Series”
Judges is one of those books in Scripture that I used to shake my head at; time and again Israel would veer away from the path God had chosen for them whenever one of the judges died (or, as in the case of Eli and his sons, they were part of the problem). Now, in the light of Scripture revealing my own heart, that’s where I have a tendency to live. As the Jews in Christ’s day during His trial I want to scream, “…we have no king but Caeser!” Thank you, Jay, for delving into this book and may He grant you extraordinary frankness in helping us all to see ourselves in that marvelous book.